Saturday, 13 December 2014

5 - 7 December 2014 - Cradle Mountain

We left Queenstown in drizzle and low cloud/mist so we could not really see the scenery as we headed to Cradle Mountain. We only had about 130 kms to travel but it took us three hours, including a coffee stop, to get to Cradle Mountain. By the time we arrived the weather was looking pretty good with some sun which was quite warm. We setup and had a quick lunch before stocking up on a few items and visiting the visitor centre. We got all the imformation we needed so went back to the caravan to prepare for a short walk at Dove Lake. The clouds started looking rather ominous and as we started the car we noticed an echidna very close by. This fellow was so placid he continued to stick his nose in the ground all over without even bothering that we were taking photos and videos of him. Eventually we needed to go as it had started to rain and we wanted to see the famous Cradle Mountain. By the time we approached the mountain it started raining heavily and when we stopped at the car park it was not worth getting out into the rain. We studied the map and the actual scenery to see what would be good to walk over the next two days. We drove the 7 kms back to the caravan to prepare dinner and drink the last of our Wild Brumby gluwein from the Snowy Mountains while the rain pattered on the roof of the caravan.

We were up early and had breakfast then set out to the Dove Lake car park which is the departure point for most walks in the area. We decided to go up to Marion's Lookout which is high above both Dove Lake and Crater Lake. The weather was drizzly with low cloud but we had hopes of it clearing. We stopped by the old boat shed on the lake then proceeded up the very steep climb to the lookout. It was fairly tough but we took our time and we reached the lookout in a little mist but it was clearing. We did the usual photo shoot and enjoyed the scenery for quite a while. The lakes in the area are all glacial lakes with waterfalls cascading into them. There was an amasing variety of trees, shrubs, ferns, flowers and lichens so wherever you looked there was something new and interesting to see. We decided to go a little further to see what was over the ridge nearby and to get a closer view of Cradle Mountain itself. We almost reached the foot of Cradle Mountain before heading down via a different, but longer and less steep path past Wombat Pool and Lake Lilla to the carpark. We were very weary when we got back to the caravan so relaxed a bit before doing the photos, having dinner and dropping into bed.

Our second, and last, day in Cradle Mountain dawned clear which was contrary to the weather report so we took advantage by doing our washing while having breakfast at the cafe. We then set out for Dove Lake again where we walked to the glacial rock which still shows evidence of glacial scouring from 20 000 years ago. We walked on a little further to get photos at different angles from the previous day. We found a beautiful beach with some lovely trees which gave us some nice photos. We had a snack while a currawong begged for scraps. This bird was so tame he ate out of our hands. Next we headed down the road to another car park where we strolled along a river and found a very old wooden house which was a perfect subject for some photos. We also found a lovely old pencil pine and while taking pics Vlasta was horrified to find some leeches crawling up her legs! After removing and photographing the leeches we felt it was prudent to move on. We took a short walk along the boardwalk then headed home for a rest and some lunch. While chatting to a fellow camper a Spotted-tailed Quoll sauntered by looking for food. This is a rare sighting indeed and we only managed one out-of-focus picture despite spotting him a couple of times with the help of the currawongs and their alarm calls. Next we went down to the tavern for a drink and some fish & chips, the fish was baked Tasmanian salmon! After supper we did the 20 minute Enchanted Forest walk which was stunning in the falling light. On our way home we came across some wombats feeding on the button grass so we hopped out the car for a closer look. Well, one fellow was so chilled we could even touch him while he ate at our feet! We were again attacked by leeches so we retreated to the road and headed home for a well-earned night's rest.

A Tasmanian Warratah
Some lichens found around our caravan
Some other small flowers near the caravan
An echidna hinting for ants and termites
An echidna's hind legs face backwards unlike almost all other mammals
That nose is actually attached to the skill and is bone all the way to the end
An old boat shed on Dove Lake
On the way to Marion's Lookout
Marion's Lookout with Dove Lake in the background
Crater Lake which is a glacial lake
Cradle Mountain
Near the foot of Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain from Dove Lake
Vlasta enjoying the view of Cradle Mountain
A begging Black Currawong
An old pioneer house
The beautiful setting for the house
A leech that almost had a feed from Vlasta
A wild Common Wombat feeding on Button Grass
Vlasta with a wild wombat
Keith touching a wild wombat

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